Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Valentine's Day Dinner

This is a bit of a belated post, but I thought still worth sharing. To return the homage Tricia paid me for her birthday dinner back in January (see post here), I figured I'd tell everyone about the surprise meal she planned for me the weekend before Valentine's Day when I went down to PA to visit her. For those that haven't followed us closely, it's worth noting that Tricia typically specializes in the sweet treats that we share here on The World Tasters. This foray into cooking a fancy meal for two was one of her first, but I must say that I was impressed. I will state that she didn't do everything you see on her own: I helped by buying her the flowers that served as the backdrop for some of these photos and I took the pictures of her cooking this delicious feast!

I arrived a little earlier than Tricia planned, and unfortunately for her, that meant that I was hungry but she still needed to prepare the whole meal. Luckily, she knows me well: she handed me some gourmet crackers and some fresh goat cheese and told me to relax while she quickly got to work in the kitchen.

The overall meal was classic high-end bistro food. The main course was to be one of my favorites: beef wellington. To start, Tricia took out two super thick cut tenderloins, seasoning them generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. They were then treated to a screaming hot cast-iron skillet and seared 5 minutes a side.

After being removed from the pan, the steak were set aside, still rare, while the rest of the prep work began. Sauteed mushrooms were pureed with herbs and garlic to make duxelles. Puff pastry was rolled out and the duxelles was spread in the center. Over this, prosciutto was layered, and finally, the steak was slathered in a hot English mustard and placed on top. Some sort of folding ritual ensued:

And in the end, the a small hole for steam to escape was made at the top. Ready for the oven!

About 10 minutes later (ready to devour):

Now, while the Wellington was roasting, other sides were being made. A mix of golden and red beets were prepped, drenched in honey, olive oil, and salt and pepper, wrapped tightly in aluminum foil and roasted (for about 40 minutes) and 350. Below is the deliciously sweet result:

Nothing was wasted with these beets. Their greens looked so beautiful (the red and gold reflected in them as well) and after a quick rinse, Tricia gave them a quick braise with red wine and shallots.

Indian style cauliflower (sauteed with onions, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and hot spices) rounded out the dinner menu:

We enjoyed our meal with the velvety spiciness of a Shiraz (Coppola Diamond Edition Bottle). Truly delicious!


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